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Skeptic Summary #244

By The Staff
Posted on: 7/12/2009

Fence-sitting kiss-off, I see an M and a J, resigned to be a clown, lucky number, a quest, a great site and more!

Week ending July 11, 2009 (Vol 6, #26)

Welcome to the Skeptic Summary, a quick week-in-review guide to the Skeptic Friends Network and the rest of the skeptical world.

Forum Highlights:
Fence-Sitting is not all bad - Falling of a high fence can hurt though.

It has begun… - Vultures started circling around Michael Jackson’s corpse before it even got cold.

Palin resigns as Alaska Governor - For better or worse. But for whom?

TAM7 - Number 7 is the lucky meeting.

Editor’s Choice: I don’t think I can make it to this… - (Re-plug!) If you’ll be near Northern Kentucky on August 7th, 2009, you can meet filthy in person at Ken Ham’s Creation Museum. Oh, you can meet PZ Myers, too, but meeting filthy would be really cool!

Kil’s Evil Pick:
[Kil is at TAM7, so Ricky made this pick] Butterflies and Wheels is a cache of critical thought, maintained by Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom. To let them use their own description:
Butterflies and Wheels has been established in order to oppose a number of related phenomena. These include:
  1. Pseudoscience that is ideologically and politically motivated.
  2. Epistemic relativism in the humanities (for example, the idea that statements are only true or false relative to particular cultures, discourses or language-games).
  3. Those disciplines or schools of thought whose truth claims are prompted by the political, ideological and moral commitments of their adherents, and the general tendency to judge the veracity of claims about the world in terms of such commitments.
Together they have accumulated a large number of articles written by independent contributors. Also don’t miss my favorites: Bad Moves and the Fashionable Dictonary, the later of which contains gems such as:
A tool that scientists use to peer at tiny powerless things which are none of their business.

First name of various ideas that no one understands, least of all scientists, so it makes a great metaphor for chaos, complexity, relativity, randomness, Postmodernity, and just about anything one needs a metaphor for.
This site is definitely one to spend many hours at.

Truth is something we can attempt to doubt, and then perhaps, after much exertion, discover that part of the doubt is unjustified.
— Niels Bohr

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday: With TAM7 this weekend, you can imagine what most of chat was about. But there were some other good highlights as well, such as a story about Kil being chased by two militant barbers in the 60s through the town square in Jackson Hole. There was also a bit of a discussion on whether or not evolution will start kicking in on those who use alternate medicine. Unfortunately the conclusion was that it most likely won’t, seeing as how they can typically reach procreation with little difficulty. Dude showed contempt for a FOX news anchor who failed high school biology, and the rest of us got a pretty good laugh. This naturally lead into talk about the Arizona senator who believes the earth is 6,000 years old. Some chatters shared sites with free access to academic papers such as arXiv and PloS One. There was also some talk of Dragon*Con.

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
The Aliens Are Watching Our TV Programming

David Klinghoffer will be eaten last

Dennett and evolutionary christology

Destino — Disney & Dali

Elaborate Marriage Proposal

Istanbul Prosecutor: ‘Drop Case of “God Delusion” Book’

Moondust and Duct Tape

New Live Poll Allows Pundits To Pander To Viewers In Real Time

Revenge may not be so sweet after all

Unscientific America and those awful atheists

What’s New by Bob Park

Got some skeptic news items? Send them to us, and we’ll think about adding them.

Book of the Week:
Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists, by Dan Barker.

“Conversions on the road to Damascus are for those who hear voices and fall prey to delusions and who would be better off seeking professional help. Much more valuable in the human story are the reflections of intelligent and ethical people who listen to the voice of reason and who allow it to vanquish bigotry and superstition. This book is a classic example of the latter.”

— Christopher Hitchens

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. The Supper
  2. Stop laughing, dammit! This is serious shit!
  3. Fence-Sitting is not all bad
  4. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in!
  5. The shallow end of the gene pool…
  6. Possum on the half shell
  7. Palin resigns as Alaska Governor
  8. Codex Sinaiticus (the oldest Bible) is now online
  9. The water cooler, part 3
  10. Beelzebufo ampinga
  1. Evolving a Venom or Two
  2. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  3. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  4. Skeptic Summary #152
  5. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  6. Miracle Thaw Tray
  7. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
  8. N. 6, January 2001: Split brains, paradigm shifts, and why it is so difficult to be a skeptic
  9. Evolution is a Lie
  10. Cold Reading
There were 11,348 daily visitors this week.

More issues of the Skeptic Summary can be found in our archive.

The Skeptic Summary is produced by the staff of the Skeptic Friends Network, copyright 2008, all rights reserved.

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